Friday, August 07, 2009

Abstract Index Playlist - August 5/09

"Delroy Wilson has always been one of my favourite Jamaican vocalists" I said to Patrick Roots, updating a list of maybe 50 names in my head. "I've always loved his jazzy flow and his deep bluesy voice". "Maybe it was because of the rum" said Patrick, a little sarcastically.

It's true, Wilson did have his troubles with alcohol, and died from cirrhosis at age 46. Maybe he never quite lived up to his days as a teenage star on Studio One, but in the late 70s he had a very good run of recordings with Bunny Lee.

Pressure Sounds new disc celebrates Prince Jammy's mixing and production acumen as much as Wilson's vocals with this new release. The title, Dub Plate Style, refers to a short-lived mixing ethos that existed in the late 70s. These songs, which were recorded throughout the seventies with various bands and producers but mostly with Bunny Lee, feature the subtractive spirit of dub underneath a full vocal mix.

According to the liners, these full-vocal versions of what would otherwise be dub mixes looked to cross over into a mainstream mixing style round about this time, but never caught on. As such, mixes like this were confined to dub plates for the dancehalls and few saw commercial release. This disc was mixed by Prince Jammy, no stranger to the dancehalls' pulse, and represents what Pressure Sounds calls one of the earliest remix albums.

To most listeners, this disc will sound like a more minimal version of roots reggae with pop crossover appeal. It certainly isn't a remix album in the sense of a radical retrofit of the music underneath the vocals, but Pressure Sounds' point is well taken. To those of us who belong to the cult of Delroy, hearing big hits like "Better Must Come" or "I'm Still Waiting" with more space where ornamentation once was is pretty cool. Maybe not life-changingly cool, but still a nice twist on songs which have long since affixed themselves to the mythical "Time-Life Presents Reggae Gold" anthology I keep re-compiling in my mind.

I dedicated this week's track to my wife. We're both huge fans of the Chi-Lites original version, and Wilson's version of "Love Uprising" is a pretty radical rethink of the original, even discarding the reggae-ready original bass line. Wilson's vocals have never sounded snappier!


ebibi (ekassa 28) - sir victor uwaifo (soundway)
you - pax nicholas & the nettey family (daptone)
baches - za (acuarela)
mundhu - brain damage (jarring effects)
show me a refix - ealzee feat alpha and omega (no label)
yeter artik kadin - bunalim (shadoks)
monarch and the viceroy - quinsin nachoff bruno tocanne project (adami)
you make time - gypsophilia (no label)
overloaded ark - helena espvall & masaki batoh (drag city)
coast to coast - vandermark 5 (atavistic)
license complete - vandermark 5 (atavistic)
gates of zion - mighty diamonds (greensleeves)
if love - agape (sustainable)
freedom fries connection - mossman vs. vander (bass ma boom)
music business dub - burning spear (burning sounds)
naggo head - ring craft posse (moll selekta)
love uprising - delroy wilson (pressure sounds)
don't wanna let you go - dream band (natty posse)

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